Thoughts on High Quality Research
Archive for May, 2011
Thoughts on High Quality Research
For this issue, we feature two graduate students in the Jackson School, Meredith Bauer and Randy Thompson. Both Meredith and Randy have served as Teaching Assistants in Jackson School classes and are currently pursuing their own research for their respective masters theses. They are each featured in an interview, which can be found below. Meredith has also written a piece on her experiences designing field work and research for her masters thesis, including pertinent tips and advice for undergraduate students. Randy has contributed a piece that profiles his research, which focuses on the namesake of our program: Henry M. Jackson. We hope that this section will serve as a source of valuable insights and advice on issues intimate and relevant to us all.
From Friends to Foes
The Deterioration of Soviet-Israeli Relations in the Mid-20th Century
This paper sheds light on an often overlooked, but integral, chapter in Soviet and modern Middle Eastern history as it investigates the rise and fall of auspicious Soviet-Israeli relations in the 1940s and 1950s. In the mid-20th century, Soviet support for Israel played a crucial role in the formation and survival of the nascent state. However, within the span of just a few years, the Soviet bloc adopted an antagonistic attitude towards Israel. This paper utilizes two analytical approaches to explain the abrupt shift in Soviet-Israeli ties. The first approach involves a delineation of five events, each of which played a decisive role in fomenting increasingly greater tension between the Soviet bloc and the Middle Eastern state. In the second analytical method, the article critically analyzes the Soviet bloc’s ostensibly friendly period with Israel to demonstrate that Moscow’s primary goal was to gain a strategic foothold in the Middle East. Combining both approaches, the paper ultimately claims that a nuanced understanding of key historical processes in the mid-20th century, as well as a critical look at underlying Soviet motivations in the Middle East, are needed to explain the eventual souring of Soviet-Israeli relations. More generally, the paper argues that the disintegration of Soviet-Israeli relations in the mid-20th century must be elucidated via a broader understanding of the dynamics of Cold War politics..
Looking Into the Evolution of Japan’s Government
After Japan’s defeat in WWII, American authorities under General MacArthur introduced a new constitution and governmental institutions they hoped would swiftly change Japan into an American-style democracy. This paper argues that as Japanese culture inherently conflicts with egalitarianism, Japan could not fully adopt American notions of democracy. The author characterizes Japanese democracy as dominated by the bureaucracy and one-party rule, and explores the Japanese ideas of groupism, hierarchy, and consensual decision-making that changed democracy to fit Japan.
Small States in Peacemaking Roles
Applying the ‘Norwegian Model’ of Conflict Resolution in Sudan
In the field of conflict resolution, little attention has been paid to the contributions of small states like Norway. Academic literature often treats Norway as merely a host to parties in negotiation. I contest this by analyzing the ”Norwegian Model” of conflict resolution in relation to their involvement in Sudan. I begin by looking at the reasons and qualifications for Norway’s role. By addressing Norway’s involvement I argue that the type of facilitative conflict resolution Norway practices is incredibly effective for the complex, multi-level conflicts seen in the world today. I then explain Norway’s strategy of working as a go-between to facilitate peace talks. This is followed by a discussion of Norway’s strategy of high and low level engagement in Sudan. I argue that this model helped spur success in reaching an agreement between the belligerents. I conclude by looking at prospects for future success.
We interviewed two Jackson School professors to see what issues they would be following this summer, how they planned on staying informed about the world, and what books were at the top of their reading list. Here’s what they said.
The Individual and the Collective
A Comparison of Identity, Individualism, and Social Categorization in American and Chinese Students
This paper focuses on the created nature of identity and the ways in which this is dealt with in Chinese and American societies. After surveying Chinese and American college students the author finds that while students in both groups share an individualist view of their personal identity the Chinese students have a fundamentally different view of collectivist identity categories. This difference has serious implications for Chinese society’s minority members.
The Kurdish Struggle for Recognition in Turkey
Towards an Expanded Model of Recognition
Kurdish communities have struggled for recognition from the Turkish state and national mainstream since the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1922. Struggles of this type are often analyzed using theories of or related to the Hegelian concept of recognition. There are, however, two different conceptions of recognition: the original Hegelian conception and the contemporary one. Axel Honneth’s model is one of the best-known attempts to bridge these two conceptions of recognition. Honneth’s account, however, is lacking in many respects. The author uses the example of the Kurdish struggle for recognition in Turkey to demonstrate how the two conceptions of recognition may be reconciled and how Honneth’s model may be expanded to be more comprehensive and descriptively powerful.
Displaced By Nature
This paper introduces emerging concerns facing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the international community with regards to forced migration due to natural disasters and climate change. This paper analyzes how the United States can better support those who are facing these threats as well as how to better prepare for them. Recommendations include recognizing environmentally forced migrants as a population that faces challenges comparable to Convention Refugees and hence is deserving of legal protection, distinguishing environmentally forced migrants from economic migrants, and addressing climate change to prevent a massive migration scenario.